There's been a lot of discussion here and elsewhere about building good PowerPoint presentations. With all due respect, these discussions miss the point.

The difference between a good presentation and a lousy one has nothing to do with slides. Transitions/no transitions. Graphics/no graphics. Pitch slides/no pitch slides. Logos/no logos. Conference presentation/sales presentation. None of it matters.

Good presentations are about one thing and one thing only.


Nail that, and it won't matter if the local Montessori preschool fingerpaints your slides. Or if you don't have slides at all.

Let me draw from my own experience to make my point—in a brief spasm of “Don'ts.”

Don't Be Irrelevant

I was on a panel once with a guy from Gartner who was asked what they looked for in an analyst relations meeting. He said, “Don't show us slides; we've seen all the slides we want to see. But if you do show us slides, make them relevant.” And then he told how company after company comes to the meeting with slides that contained Gartner's own research. Analysts don't need to see their own work.

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Michael Fischler is founder and principal coach and consultant of Markitek (, which for over a decade has provided marketing consulting and coaching services to companies around the world, from startups and SMEs to giants like Kodak and Pirelli. You can contact him by clicking here.